County will notify thousands of ‘questionable’ COVID results

WEST CHESTER, Pa. (AP) — A Pennsylvania county has acknowledged that tests it purchased from a local biotech start-up produced “potentially inaccurate” results for thousands of people.

Chester County vowed this week to reach out to those who received the “questionable test results” in late May and to appoint a consultant to review the purchase of the antibody tests, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

The news comes days after the newspaper reported that the county spent $13 million in federal pandemic aid on a no-bid contract to Malvern-based Advaite. The testing program was intended to identify essential workers who had developed disease-fighting antibodies, which show up in the blood after COVID-19 infection.

In the first few weeks after testing began May 7, the tests produced results that appeared to be accurate. But two weeks later, the percentage of people testing positive for coronavirus antibodies began spiking to levels far above what was plausible, based on the prevalence of the virus in the area. The county eventually shelved the program June 2.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration says antibody tests should not be used to diagnose COVID-19. But Chester health officials and their lab partner decided to interpret certain results as signaling a current infection. Patients with those results received emails stating: “You may have COVID-19. You are likely contagious. You should isolate yourself at home.”

The county, though, never informed those who may have received false alarms, nor did it disclose the questionable results — about 6,100 of the 19,425 tests it conducted — on its website.

Chester County said Tuesday that its three-member Board of Commissioners would appoint an “independent legal consultant” to review the process associated with sourcing and procuring the antibody tests.

3rd man surrenders in Pittsburgh shootout that killed infant

PITTSBURGH (AP) — The third man sought in the death of an infant who was struck by a stray bullet that went into his family’s apartment during a shootout on a Pittsburgh street has turned himself in to authorities.

Devon Thompson, 37, of McKees Rocks, surrendered Tuesday to city police. He faces charges of criminal homicide, criminal attempted homicide, aggravated assault and a weapons count, and it wasn’t known Wednesday if he’s retained an attorney.

Authorities have said Thompson and two other men — Andre Crawford, 29, of McKeesport, and Marvin Hill Jr., 41, of Spring Hill — were at the Three Rivers Manor apartment complex when they opened fire on Aug. 24. Authorities have not said was sparked the shootout, but said numerous rounds were fired.

Zykier Young was sleeping in his family’s apartment when he was struck in the head by a bullet that traveled through two walls before it hit him, authorities said. The year-old boy was taken to a hospital but was pronounced dead there several hours later.

No other injuries were reported in the shootout. Authorities say it’s not clear who fired the shot that struck the infant.

Crawford and Hill have been in police custody since early this month.

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